The REI Co-op Screen House Shelter is lightweight, weighing in at 10 lbs 14 oz. Due to its low weight, as well as its familiar tent pole design, this shelter is easy to set up while staying true to the camping tent aesthetic. The size and simple setup are accessible to a broad demographic of campers. The dual zippered doors allow for full and easy access for up to six people, and when completely zipped up, offer excellent protection from all manner of insects while maintaining the feeling of an open door. With that being said, the fixed material at the bases are a tripping hazard and require you to completely lift the tent up and over to place it over a picnic table. The guy-lines and stakes aren't very robust and do little to add stability. For a more reliable, screened canopy that handles less-than-perfect conditions better, check out the Clam Outdoors Quick-Set Escape.
REI Co-op Screen House Review
Cons: Fixed floor bases, not very stable
Manufacturer: REI Co-op
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Since our testing period, REI has revamped the Screen House. The doors have been offset on the updated version (shown in the left image, below). We are currently testing the updated Screen House, and are linking to it in this review. Note that until that new review is complete, the text following the comparison images below only refers to our experience with the previous incarnation of this shelter.
Hands-On Review of the Screen House
Offering 100 square feet of floor space and 7 feet of clearance, this tent is large enough to protect up to six people from the elements and insects. The screen doors have two zippers, allowing for full removal of the opening nets, which allows for easy access from two opposing sides. The bottom floor panel at each door does not remove, however, making it difficult to place over picnic tables as the entire tent needs to be lifted over while remaining a tripping hazard when the screen doors are open. While the Clam Outdoors model offers less square footage, the round design feels larger and more livable.
Ease of Setup
Due to the low weight of this tent and the familiar pole system, this tent is relatively easy to set up. Able to be erected by one person, the recommended two people can set this tent up in approximately 8min. The collapsible aluminum poles are slipped into the fabric sheath in two places and connect to the four corners with a ringlet. This tent has a fixed base along the bottom of each doorway which forces this tent to set up over a picnic table, or picked up and placed.
When erect this shelter feels unstable, and it's not until the stakes and guy-lines are in use that the tent feels sturdy. Based on the fact that it relies on thin aluminum poles for its structure, we would not recommend keeping this shelter out in heavy wind, since it has quite a bit of surface area compared to its relatively thin poles.
With a similar design to most camping tents, the REI Screen House relies on six aluminum poles for its structure. The poles are external, which subjects them to potential damage or bending. However, this shelter does come with a splint in case one of the poles snaps. The fabric is ripstop nylon which is durable and blocks the sun as well as light rain.
Under 11 lbs, this tent is much easier to transport than the Clam Quick Escape. Also due to the lightweight nature, the two hand straps on the bag are comfortable enough during transportation. This tent can be picked up and transported by just about anyone, and when packed, the tent is only 29 inches long, making it easy to store in limited space.
The Screen House is best used for families or groups of up to six people, proving shelter over picnic tables. This shelter will protect from bugs as well as light, wind, and rainy drizzle. Also, the lightweight and easy set-up make this a good tent for people of all experience levels.
This camping canopy will cost you $249, which is a considerable sum. If you're concerned about storage and weight, this may be the tent for you. However, for durability, longevity, and stability we would recommend the Clam Outdoors Quick Escape.
Made for car camping, this tent is lightweight, easy to set up, and protects against sun and bugs. It is easy to place over picnic tables and offers enough space to fit six people comfortably. Due to its lightweight and exterior aluminum poles, it doesn't feel very stable, and its fixed base is a potential tripping hazard. For increased durability and stability, at the cost of weight, we would recommend the Clam Quick Escape.
— Michael Wood